tv MSNBC Reports MSNBC December 31, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
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was so much more than television. she began her career on the radio in the 1940s, then tv in the 1950s, starring in more shows than i have fingers on my hands. her most famous, rose on "golden girls." then there were the movies, so many movies. just the other day her "proposal" co-star ryan reynolds was still holding out for her. she was beloved. only weeks ago from her 100th birthday, which was on january 17th. so let us take a moment to celebrate the remarkable life and career of betty white. here's nbc's miguel almaguer. ♪♪ >> announcer: ladies and gentlemen, betty white. >> reporter: may 8th, 2010, betty white making history at the age of 88, becoming the
oldest person to host "saturday night live," this after half amillion people on facebook petitioned the show to give her a shot at hosting. >> i didn't know what facebook was. [ laughter ] now that i do know what it is, i have to say, it sounds like a huge waste of time. [ laughter ] >> reporter: betty white, born in the chicago suburb of oak park, illinois, certainly never wasted her time. in the 1940s, fresh out of high school, she began working in radio, appearing on such shows as "the great guildersleeve." >> i didn't go to college. i just went into show business. >> reporter: she was on television from the very beginnings, in 1952 coproducing
her own comedy show. >> tell him, honey. doing! >> reporter: on "the betty white show" she revealed another talent, singing. ♪ to one who'd watch over me ♪ >> reporter: she is best known no sue ann evans, on "the mary tyler moore show." >> sure by now -- [ laughter ] ♪ thank you for being a friend ♪ >> reporter: and rose on "the golden girls." >> when i was growing up in minnesota, it is doctor made house cal all the time, for us and the livestock. >> you and the animals had the same doctor, sure. >> it worked out fine, until the doctor started drinking hog lynnment and tried to neuter the swenson brothers. >> there's an awful lot of betty
in rose. it scares me to death. >> married twice -- >> will you take me home, please, mr. luden. >> they were husband and hive until his death in 1981. >> as far as a serious relationship, i just couldn't imagine it, you know, at this point in my life. there you go. there you go, sweetheart. >> reporter: during her spare time, betty white was a tireless advocate for the humane treatment of animals, serving with charities and on the board of the los angeles zoo. >> we're such a throwaway society. we treat even or animals like paper towels. if it doesn't work out, you throw it away. >> reporter: a sustaining power as new generation of fans loved her in films like "the
proposal." >> let's see if we can find your boobs. it's look an easter egg hunt. >> reporter: know sign of slowing down with late-night comedy shows and commercial work. >> you're playing like betty white out there. >> that's what your girlfriend says. >> the screen actors guild presented her the lifetime achievement award. >> to the screen actors guild, to each and every one of you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. ♪ thank you for being a friend ♪ ♪ travel down the road and back again ♪ >> reporter: a life in which he garnered countless honors and friends. and, man, 2021 just keeps getting worse.
her longtime friend and agent said, even though she was about to be 100, i thought she would live forever. he said this on friday in a statement about her death, he says, i will miss her terribly, and so will the animal world she loved so much. she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband. let us hope they are reunited today. with me is derek egans. what can you say, eric, about betty white. she was everything. >> yeah, what was amazing about her was that she was a star in so many eras of television, from its earliest beginning all the way through the game show era. she was known as the first lady of game shows, and of course married one of the best-known game show hosts in alan luden, and then became the queen of the
sitcoms, co-starring on "the mary tyler moore show" and one of her biggest roles on "the golden girls." finally in her later years becoming an elder stateswoman of television, becoming the oldest person to host "saturday night live" after there was a petition to push the show to bringing her on, and a sort of symbol of agrees, good nature, and someone who always seemed object right side of issues. he was an mall rights activist. when she was pressured to drop a black performer from one of her early shows, she refused, even though it angered some tv stations in the south. this is someone who always seemed to stand for -- on the right side of history, and someone who was just a talented and long-lasting tv performer.
>> how did she do it? the industry is pretty fickle, and tough, and certainly wasn't easy -- how do you not only survive and thrive in it for as long as she did, and not only that, for everybody that came into contact with you, to love you. >> well, i mean, it seemed to me she had this way of making what she does look effortless, and she did so many things, as you all pointed out in your obituary for her. she could sing. she was very funny. she could be a game show guest or a great cast member in a sitcom. you know, she had a wide range of talent, but she seemed to do it all sort of effortlessly. you never felt intimidated, but endeared and entertained by her. i think that was sort of her
secret appeal was that she is was so good at everything she did, but she did it in an effortless and open-hearted way that you enjoyed it, you weren't intimidated or overshadowed by it. >> there was a recent show called "betty while's off their rockers" which featured senior citizens pranking kids young enough to be their grandkids, which i think is a great premise. what's going to happen to the special that was planned for her birthday? >> yeah, we don't know. there's a documentary-style film that was planned to be shown in theaters across the country on january 17th, which would have been her 100th birthday. i hope they go through with it, and so sort of convert is into a tribute. i wouldn't be surprised if that's what they did, but this is new, so fresh, that it's heart to know what's going to
happen. >> it is hard to know. my question is, she's on the cover of "people" right now, there were interviews being done with what is her secret to long life? and her answer was, i've never eaten anything green. this was an just in the past few days. there was also the special, so i wonder, she was 99, which is obviously quite old, but it does still seem like this came out of nowhere. >> yeah. well, you know, one thing that was interesting to me about betty white is that, as open-hearted as she seemed, she also seemed to be very private about her personal life. we don't have a lot of information yet on what her health status was, or at least i don't, and my sense is she was aging. there wasn't a lot of information out there about how she was doing, or, you know, sort of the health challenges she might have been facing. so, you know, that's also
something we may find out more about in the days and week sort of progress, and we find out more about her situation toward the end of her life. >> eric, stick with us. i want to bring in liz, the co-creator of "the day will show." she did an interview with david letterman, and she asked about her time, ending it with "a lot about vodka. >> she was so brilliant. i was born and raised in minnesota. to be introduced to betty from "the mary tyler moore show" and then "the golden girls" people forget sue ann givens, the character on, was just out doing what she needed to do.
i think betty white just rolled with hilariously stereotypes around women and shattering that. she was somebody who was funny. she never said no. she was -- she was the most relevant human maybe ever. that was such an accomplishment, to be 99 years old. when you look at twitter right now -- i apologize, my phone has just been blowing up from every female comedian, and what are we going to do? carry on her legacy, i guess. she just went with it. i think eric's point was so great, the most belove people are the people who are so confidence in their talent. she had nothing to prove. she was full of joy, and she excelled at everything. she just was hilarious, where this was a comedy central roast, where she was hilariously
filthy, where she was on mary tyler moore, to the golden girls, with the ensemble portrayal of all those women was so incredible. she's an aspiration, that it doesn't matter who you are, if you're working in comedy, you point at betty white and go, that is the career i want. please somebody help me achieve that. >> the problem is, that most of us aren't as charming or as, i don't know -- we don't have the same sort of longevity. she was nice without being saccharin. i have never heard a person in my life say a negative thing about betty white. the news of her passing, it's blowing up your phone. it's blowing up nigh phone, and i have no business for it to blow up my phone. people were screaming at me for not reporting it as quickly as
other networks. the passing feels like, liz, the most horrible ending to a horrible year. >> it is. every year, i do a year in review stand-up show that i'm doing tonight. i was like, mother of god, are you kidding me? i have to hit the stage tonight and open with your beloved grandmother is dead. in fact, if you didn't like betty white, i think that is the barometer for somebody that you should run far, far away from. you know, betty why, i don't think so, okay, bye-bye, block, delete, cancel. >> and it's a great excuse to go back and watch "the golden girls." >> no, girl, i've got you. we're going to talk about
this at length, so please don't go anywhere. we're going to sneak in a quick break. everybody stay with us. again, it's very sad news, but let us celebrate her life. betty white, dead at the age of 99. white, dead at the age of 99 napoleon was born and raised to conquer. but he was just kind of over it, you know. watching prime video he realized he should follow his dreams. so he ordered a microphone with prime next day delivery. now the only thing he cared about conquering was his audience. prime changes everything.
again, still talking about the depressing news that betty white has died at the age of 99. still, let us celebrate her life. she gave us so much, so much. the president, in fact, is speaking about the passing of betty white. that is what a big deal she is. mike memoli joins me now. mike, what does president biden have to say? >> yeah, katy, i think the death of betty white is the last thing i, as a white house correspondent, would get called to the camera to talk about, but a measure of the impact of the life she had.
it came from the president of the united states. she and the first lady, just across the street here in wilmington, on the way out he was asked if he had a reaction. he said it was a shame, she was a class counter lady, and he quoted his mother, 99 years old, god love her. the first lady also chimed in to say, who doesn't love betty white? obviously the impact of her passing being felt here. i should mention, katy, the president also did talk about ukraine, his called with president pewing yesterday, that he made it clear if he were to -- also some nato retaliation, also talked about the wildfires in colorado, and said he's considering going there and has spoken with the governor there as well. so a quick conversation in what's otherwise been a quiet week, including the death of betty white as well.
we still have liz, eric, and -- let's bring in dean. we were talking about betty white's comedic timing. i'm curious. i know there's so many female medians out there, who say she was -- she was their north star. she was the person that this were trying to be. she inspired so many. >> she did. having liz on, katy, to talk about that was great. i worked at snl not when betty white hosted, but i worked there with tina fey, amy poehler and other great performers. you could see the love by them when betty white came to host in 2010? comedy keeps you young? spirit. i was so much younger. and political news. betty white at 99, i really
encourage -- go watch clips when she hosted snl at 88 years old. there's a great sketch with her and tina faye, and living in a house with tina comes to take the census. it was hilarious. i challenge anyone to stay up until 1:00 in the morning, to 1:00 in the morning. if you're 50 or 60, she was 88. i can assure you. it was late night after late night. she had the energy to carry a show, and tina and amy were part of her 90th celebration for her birthday, commented on how she inspired them, and countless other women, from "the golden girls to "mary tyler moore show." she was game for anything. you see her on game shows, having things thrown at her. she didn't care.
she cared about the life. she didn't care about a certain image. she was there to bring joy to americans. 99, goes bless you, she lived that long. >> listen, i'm 38. i cannot stay up until 1:00 at any given night. it might be because i have screaming children, but we're talking about all that she gave us. she gave us so many comedies, so many shows and radio shows, movies, one-liners, interviews. it's just so heart hard to appointed to one thing. but, dean, the fact that she gave us -- or helped give us tina fey and amy poehler, i mean, forever in her debt. i think "the golden girls" had a big influence of people in comedy. not just women, but a lot of
women. she was saying don't give up on your dreams, celebrating her birthday, it was also a little racy. that's what betty white would do. that made it perfect. i know people, look, it's sad, she was going to be 100 in a few weeks, but celebrate this remarkable woman. through generation after generation.
the laughs she gave us, the joy she brought us, and i think the goodwill that was left behind. >> i have people out there saying what about "hot in cleveland"? she was so good in that show. >> absolutely. her co-stars like valerie bertinelli, were part of the 90th birthday celebration as well. s in what's remarkable. the betty white was on tv from the beginning of tv. she is literally the first lady of television. she was there making people life right through an verse have i special of her life, which will post date her, sadly, but will remember her. >> this is a "the washington post" article. she was approached by nbc in the early 1960s to be the, quote, new girl, in a program called "today" that was just getting started. she declined. she didn't want to live in new york city, and she said they had
to make do with barbara walters. that's what she told npr. what can i tell you, make don't with barbara walters? another quick break, but please don't go everywhere. everyone is staying with us. betty white, debt at the age of 99. betty white, debt at the age of 99 try nervivenerve relief from the world's #1 selling nerve care company. nervive contains alpha lipoic acid to relieve occasional nerve aches, weakness and discomfort. try nervivenerve relief.
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for those of you just joining us, we have the sad duty to report to you that legendary actress betty white has died at the age of 99. her death comes just a few weeks before what would have been her 100th birthday. she began her career on radio in the 1940s before becoming a pioneer and trailblazing television start. she became the first lady of television, stars in dozens of shows, as well as a frequent panelist on game shows. her famous role of rose nyland on "the golden girls." in 2010 she became the oldest person to shows snl, and also one of the funniest, frankly. she went on to win eight emmy
awards, but her talent were limited to the small screen. she a star on big screens as well, including 2009's "the proposal." she spent decades with the morris animal foundation and the los angeles zoom. president biden called her a lovely lady and an incredible person. back with us is liz wenstead, co-creaor of "the daily show." it's hard to overstate all she's accomplished. she was approached to be one of the first hosts of the "today" show. barbara walters got the job she said. she was one of the first to produce a television show called "life with elizabeth" stars herself. that was 1954. so a long time ago. she wanted to initially be a
forest ranger, but women weren't allowed to be a forest ranger back then. in 2010, she was given the honorary decidingation of forest ranger by the u.s. forest service. she had an emotional speech and said her parents would be more proud of this than any other award i have won. almost a "today" show anchor, producer of one of the first female producers of a tv show, comedienne, actress, host, and now an honorary forest ranger. that's just incredible. >> so, you know, it's the story of so many women who started their careers early, right? pioneers, wanted to do something that they were prevented from doing, and then honored later. you know, i really want to just talk about -- some friends of mine were texting me, and they were like, tell the story of
"password." my group of friends shall a great home padword game going. we had a massive feud about a clue on password whether or not you can use a proper noun. the clue i gave was farrah, and the word was faucet. betty, you have to clear this up. i need to win. can i use a proper noun in password. she is like, liz, you are the winner. yes! it was so great. it was just the best. i have to say that, as we're talking about all the inspirations for things that betty has done, let us not forget that betty white and "the golden girls" had to be an inspiration for "sex and the city." i don't think we could have had "sex and the city" if we didn't have "the golden girls" first.
if we were to do the reboot of the reboot, would they all by living in florida together? when i think about everything she's done and the evolution of her work and who she is, let it also be a reminder that we shouldn't be so ageist when we're talking about humor, comedy and who we're celebrating. we want a lot of betty whites we are celebrating when they're 99. we don't want to cast people aside. when i think about her being the oldest person to host snl, it's like why aren't there more older comedians hosting snl? there's plenty of old people to satirize certainly in power, so let's use her life and legacy as an example of how we want to celebrate people who have paved the way, who have remained relevant and interesting. >> it's just a golden girls mom
my friend showed me just a couple days ago that had me and my husband both laughing in his teshs. it's dorothy saying, so you're five years older, so am i, so is blanche. okay, so you're a little thicker around the middle. so is blanche. the comedy, the timing in ha show is amazing. it's 2021 and it holds up. it's so hard to have something still by funny this many years later. >> that is what is so wild. go back also to everything she's done. you go back to mary tyler moore, and go back to the first thing i did when i heard the news, there was a great episode of when chuckles the clown dies, they're all hugging, walking across the set in a hug, saying i think we all need a kleenex.
the relevance of how you can make humor, you know, it speaks to when humor is good and when comedy is good, it holds up -- that's my rescue dog, by the way, as tribute to betty white. >> my stage manager, joe, was nodding his head in agreement for that story. i am just so thankful -- i was talking about this with dean obadiah, but tina fey and amy poehler, you put them on anything. it could be reading the phone book, and why watch it. thank god she was there to be a role model, to inspiring, to lead the way for so many of these women that i count as
absolutely essential for maysanity nowadays. >> for sure. think of sarah silverman, i think of issa rae, and all of the folks who have persevered. kathy griffin. she just has a great thread on twitter right now with her experiences with betty white that i encourage everyone to read. look at the women who are in comedy now, and i would say take time to look at betty's work, but look at some of the older comics who are out there now, who have had the experience of knowing betty and a career, and just reading their thoughts and their recollectionses of having betty white as their inspiration. katy, it is so wild to look at how many people are -- it's not just sad. people are overwhelmed with
grief, like in a way that is, like, if there was going to be a state funeral, which there should be. i feel like we should just do what they did, you know, with james brown, just tour betty white around every wonderful place, so that people could pay homage to her. can we have her lie in state? i feel like she should be lying in state so we could just say good-bye to her. >> she's just too good for that. don't drag her into politics. you are right, katy. >> maybe somewhere more appropriate for -- obviously i'm joking. >> i can't even imagine a place that deserves her. >> i don't know. a walk of fame doesn't really fit. i'm trying to think. we're going to have to build our own spectacular monument where she can exist in her
exceptionalism that's beyond what we currently have. >> liz, i'm going to ask you to stick around. we do want to sneak in another quick break. stay with us, everyone. we are celebrating is the life of betty white, dead today at the age of 99. etty white, dead the age of 99. in just two weeks! (sighs wearily) here i'll take that! (excited yell) woo-hoo! ensure max protein. with thirty grams of protein, one gram of sugar, and nutrients to support immune health.
again, we are talking about the death of betty white at the age of 99. we are celebrating her life here, so let's bring in people's east coast news editor liz o'neil, who just wrote this cover story on betty white on her 100th birthday. talk to me about what she told you. >> hi. you know, it was just so wonderful that she participated. i think her sense of humor really came through. one thing i noticed is that, you know, the funniest questions were the things she responded
to. i asked her, would i ever drink green juice, or something like that's correct and that's when she said, i don't touch anything green. so, you know, it was just wonderful to celebrate her. >> her secret to longevity is not touching anything green. [ laughter ] that and her hobby being vodka, when she told dave letterman a few years ago. you were celebrating her 100th birthday. what are your expectations for the big special that was planned. >> when you say special, what do you mean? >> the movie celebrating betty white turns 100. >> i think that that movie is still going to play on her birthday, as far as i know, and i think it's just -- you just want to celebrate her even more. of course, i'm sad she didn't make it. you know, she was so close.
i guess i just love knowing that her sparkling sense of humor was completely intact. >> "people" magazine having her on the cover, shows you what a draw she was at the age of 99. >> and captivated the country and the world for almost the entirety of her life, and multiple generations. >> absolutely. one thing that's so great about writing about her is you hear, well, you know, i used to watch "golden girls" with my grandmother. i hear that from my colleagues. and that longevity gave her more appeal. you just loved her more and more, as she got older because of her incredible appeal and her longevity. liz, thank you so much for joining us. what timing for a cover.
i know now that would be used to celebrate her life, not just her 100 birthday, but no the entirety of her life. let's bring in dean again. i'm going to petition lauren michaels to replace the betty white episode this saturday. i think it would be good timing. also petition everybody out there who might be in charge of a television network that has the ability to air a betty white rerun, maybe a "golden girls" marathon is probably out there every day. when you look back, what is the clip that you want to -- that you're going to turn to first after you get finished talking to me this do we have dean? hello? see, if i was betty white, i would have something to say to
that. do we have liz? >> liz is here. >> you would never leave me. when you get finished talking to me, when i finish holding you captive here, what are you going to turn to? >> i'm going to turn to "the mary tyler moore show." it was just so formative for me growing up in minneapolis, having that show happen here, have you sue ann livens be one of the most profoundly seminal characters in formulating who i was as a comedienne, showing that things are possible. also, let's just talk about these shows where "golden girls" and "mary tyler moore show" were shows about women who didn't rely on men. they passed the test, right? they were shows that centered around their power and who they were and their comedic timing,
their lives, and their lives didn't surround themselves with anything else. sure, sue ann was a hilarious characters, always just looking for some action, but it was always on her terms. i feel like there were some things that wouldn't get any censored, so action works out there. and the "golden girls" same thing, it was about friendship with women, the bond that women have. i love that so much of her career, when you look at it, is centered around giving women these massive platforms and showcasing our lives and who we were. that's just amazing. so going back and watching "mary tie already moore ", katy, i encourage you to do that as someone who works in news, go back and take in that local news flavor and watching all that
happened in sue ann's role in that. >> there are almost no television shows that have been able to capture what it's like to work in the news business. that is one of the rare ones. that and maybe that, maybe sports knight, and they were just a couple of movies that have gotten it. everything else is wildly off base. but that show, "the mary tyler moore show" was great. and her character was hilarious. we want to take one more very quick break. on the other end, we will have our final thoughts on this. don't go anywhere. ts on this don't go anywhere.
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joints can be 3-d printed. and there isn't one definition of what well feels like. there are millions. we're using our world to make your world a world of well. back on the sat news that betty white is dead at the age of 99. again, we are celebrating her life. back with me, liz winsted, cocreator of the daily show. i have quotes from betty white that i think are great. one of them is, if one has no sense of humor, one is in trouble. that's true. get at least eight hours of beauty sleep. nine if you are ugly. i have no regrets at all. none. i consider myself to be the luckiest old broad on two feet spchlt, my answer to anything
under the sun like what have you not done in the business that you have always wanted to do is -- robert redford. on that, i agree. i totally agree, especially robert redford in "all the president's men" which i guess is showing how much of a news geek i am. gosh, it is hard to sum her up. it's so hard to encapsulate this incredible life, to celebrate it in such a small medium that we have right now, this cable news show. >> i know. but i think the one thing is, i think everybody can go back, embrace her work, embrace the work of the women that inspired here because there are so many great ones. i have my rescue dog, he's now in my shop but you can't see him, in honor of betty, he decided to make an appearance. i think that we just really need to remember that betty white is
somebody who is -- we should take life lessons from, because her confidence, her talent, and her genuine humility is what made her longevity, because she was incredibly talented. but she was also incredibly kind, and understood in every project she worked on everyone's role in it. and you will not talk to a single person, who matter who they were on the set of what she did that didn't appreciate, feel appreciated, because she was in the room. she set the example for a lot of people on how to be in situations. so, like embrace her, embrace her comedy, be like betty is what i am trying to say. #belikebetty. when her husband, addend ludden died she said she was not going the remarry, she had already found the bess. when talking about her passing her agent told "people" i don't think betty ever feared passing
because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband, allen ludden. she believed she would be with him again. >> you know, fine old pass word episodes. he was the host of pass word. that was her husband. their chemistry on that show, there was a lot of double entendre and a lot of fun. i want to recommend you go see a clip of that. >> we aired a clip where she asked him to take her home. it was charming. betty white, debt at the age of 99. f 99 (kate) and up to $1,000 when you switch. (carolers) ♪better♪ (kate) because everyone deserves better. if you wanna look fresh, fresh. you gotta eat fresh. eat fresh. that's why subway bought time in my shampoo ad. to talk about the new baja chicken & bacon.
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